Challenges

by April-Lyn Caouette

For four out of the past six years, I’ve participated in a reading challenge on Goodreads. This is the first out of those years I won’t be completing my challenge, but that’s okay – part of the reason I didn’t complete the challenge is the large number of books I started reading and never finished. If I counted number of pages read instead of number of books read, I think that I’d be more than satisfied with my progress. (Especially considering one of those books was Anna Karenina, and one of the books I’m in progress with is War and Peace.)

I’ve also participated in challenges on BGG the last two years. It’s been a good way to push myself to explore different kinds of games and gaming, and it’s been fun to drag others into the madness. Last year my goal was simply to play all the games in the BGG top ten, and after reaching that goal, I’ve added it as an ongoing challenge for myself to always play these games that surge in popularity.

I also signed up for a 100 play challenge of Mysterium, without a specific timeline so that I could chip away at it at my leisure. “Where are you in your 100 plays?” is a question people ask me a lot… one day I’ll finish it….

This year I joined a 100 x 1: 100 different games in 2017. But that sounded too easy. So I made my own personal challenge to play 100 games I’d never played before. I thought even that would be simple, but it proved a lot more difficult than I expected. Going to Gen Con for the first time and demoing lots of games helped. So did having a very understanding gaming group with large collections of obscure games (and short games) they were willing to play with me to boost my numbers.

This past Wednesday we met for our regular Weds gaming night and we played five short, new-to-me games – entirely for my benefit. If it weren’t for my challenge, “Joking Hazard” would never have made its way to our table – we’re the Ventura County STRATEGY Boardgames group, not the Ventura County Light Party Games group. I think everyone is relieved that my challenge is over and that we can stop playing terrible games just for my benefit.

But now I need to find new challenges for 2018! I’m considering:

– 365 play challenge (365 game plays in 2018)
– 10 x 10 challenge (10 plays of 10 different games)
– bumping up my H index at least two numbers (doing a 10 x 10 would accomplish this as a byproduct)
– doing some sort of social challenge (eg playing x number of games with x number of different people, playing x number of games each with x number of specific people, playing x number of new games with one specific person, or maybe just making a goal of helping other people finish their own goals)
– playing every game in my collection at least once (with the goal of culling the collection to only the best games)

What gaming goals did you accomplish in 2017, and what are you thinking about setting as new goals for 2018?
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek

Games and Depression

Been struggling with a bout of depression lately, and long story short, it’s miserable.

Last night I had a few close girlfriends over to keep me company, and rather than talk endlessly about myself and how I feel, or sit there incapable of holding a conversation with them about the things on *their* minds, I suggested we play a game of Phase 10. Usually not my top pick for a game, but it was well-suited to the moment for a number of reasons. They’re not gamers, so I needed something they could pick up easily (and even then it took them a few phases to really understand what was going on – probably in part due to my rusty skills in explaining games to non-gamers). Also it’s one of my family games, so it’s familiar and comfortable, which was exactly what I needed at the time.

I realized partway through the game last night, and then reflecting on it this morning, that games will probably be a big part of my recovery. I didn’t have the ability to put together a coherent conversation last night, until we started playing. Then I was still sluggish, but my mind felt clearer. Having something to focus on that was strategic, and wasn’t my problems or my feelings or my fatigued body, helped me feel more like myself. And it was great.

A week and a half ago I wasn’t in that place – I skipped my usual Weds games night in favor of Netflix on the couch. But now the medication has had a small amount of time to clear some of the fog away. I’m still withdrawn from much of my life, avoiding most of the stressful things except for the ones I absolutely have to deal with (like going to work). Every day I’m feeling slightly more like myself, but it’s still a struggle. I feel like I’m rebuilding the structure of my life one stone at a time, and sometimes I need to take stones away when I realize that the supports underneath them aren’t quite stable enough yet. And games help with that – they provide a framework when the structure of my day-to-day life activities feels too overwhelming. And the social aspect is key – the framework is one that my friends are building with me, by following the rules and strategies of the game. So without even realizing that they’re doing it, the people I care about are helping restore me to health, even if they’re bad at listening or empathizing or knowing what to say.

I’m going to attempt to actually keep up with this blog again. It seems that interacting with tabletop gamers is good for my mental health (and doing it away from the information overload of Facebook is even better).

Games and Depression

by April-Lyn Caouette

Been struggling with a bout of depression lately, and long story short, it’s miserable.

Last night I had a few close girlfriends over to keep me company, and rather than talk endlessly about myself and how I feel, or sit there incapable of holding a conversation with them about the things on *their* minds, I suggested we play a game of Phase 10. Usually not my top pick for a game, but it was well-suited to the moment for a number of reasons. They’re not gamers, so I needed something they could pick up easily (and even then it took them a few phases to really understand what was going on – probably in part due to my rusty skills in explaining games to non-gamers). Also it’s one of my family games, so it’s familiar and comfortable, which was exactly what I needed at the time.

I realized partway through the game last night, and then reflecting on it this morning, that games will probably be a big part of my recovery. I didn’t have the ability to put together a coherent conversation last night, until we started playing. Then I was still sluggish, but my mind felt clearer. Having something to focus on that was strategic, and wasn’t my problems or my feelings or my fatigued body, helped me feel more like myself. And it was great.

A week and a half ago I wasn’t in that place – I skipped my usual Weds games night in favor of Netflix on the couch. But now the medication has had a small amount of time to clear some of the fog away. I’m still withdrawn from much of my life, avoiding most of the stressful things except for the ones I absolutely have to deal with (like going to work). Every day I’m feeling slightly more like myself, but it’s still a struggle. I feel like I’m rebuilding the structure of my life one stone at a time, and sometimes I need to take stones away when I realize that the supports underneath them aren’t quite stable enough yet. And games help with that – they provide a framework when the structure of my day-to-day life activities feels too overwhelming. And the social aspect is key – the framework is one that my friends are building with me, by following the rules and strategies of the game. So without even realizing that they’re doing it, the people I care about are helping restore me to health, even if they’re bad at listening or empathizing or knowing what to say.

I’m going to attempt to actually keep up with this blog again. It seems that interacting with tabletop gamers is good for my mental health (and doing it away from the information overload of Facebook is even better).
Source: GitNG @ BoardGameGeek